By Zachary Fagenson
By Bill Citara
By Laine Doss
By Laine Doss
By Carina Ost
By Valeria Nekhim
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La Cofradia also earned a New Times nod for best service in 2006. The waiters at Mixtura are courteous yet slow. It's not their fault; management opted on a weeknight to have only one tending the dining room. During one visit, we waited nearly ten minutes to be offered water and menus from the waitress, who was clearly struggling to manage the room by herself. A busboy darting about filling water and clearing plates told us he knew the menu back to front and was hoping to be a server one day. That night ought to have been his night, because the one server could've used his help.
Yet she was also the one who later gave us the good advice to mix the leftover sauce from our papa a la huancaína ($10) with our lomo saltado. The classic Peruvian potato dish brought the traditional mix of boiled potatoes covered in huancaína sauce, a creamy combination of aji amarillo, queso fresco, evaporated milk, and salt. The potatoes were well-cooked, not too mushy and not too firm, as was the hard-boiled egg. The sauce, however, was a touch bland and could've been helped by something as simple as another pinch of salt.
160 Andalusia Ave.
Miami, FL 33134
Region: Coral Gables/South Miami
Related content: Slide show: "Closer Look: Mixtura in Coral Gables."
Despite the dining room filling to only half capacity on both visits, hot and cold dishes crawled out of the kitchen. Lomo saltado anticuchos ($14), two skewers of tenderloin marinated in a mix of soy sauce, vinegar, and spices, hit our table before the cold ceviche. Still, the appetizer was the high point of a high-priced meal. The meat was again cooked to a perfect medium rare, served atop three sticks of fried cassava — perfectly crisp on the outside and light and creamy on the inside — atop a pale green streak of ocopa, a sauce made of aji amarillo, evaporated milk, queso fresco, roasted peanuts, and huacatay, a Peruvian herb similar to mint and basil.
A pair of grilled octopus tentacles ($15) came paired with bland roasted potatoes, giant choclo corn kernels, and cubes of queso fresco. The octopus was undercooked, leaving it with a chewy, bouncy texture. It was coated in salsa anticuchera, a deep-red, almost burgundy-colored sauce made of chili pepper, red wine, crushed garlic, cumin, and oregano. Unfortunately, the thick sauce took away some of the char we looked forward to and gave each bite a slimy mouthfeel.
As it turns out, Mixtura has held onto the La Cofradia name in some instances, but not what earned it those accolades. There are plenty of other Peruvian restaurants in Miami offering authentic fare at lower prices. You won't get the modern dining room or the fabricated Spanish experience of Coral Gables, but you might receive a better meal.
I don't understand the food expert's intentions by insisting in compare a restaurant that doesn't exist anymore with a new one. I have been a frequent customer at both mixturas and I had only great experiences. There are too many Peruvian restaurants in this city and these two have great food and especially prices, better (to make the "critic" happy with his comparisons campaign) than La cofradia.